Published: October 20th 2011October 21st 2011
Pausing for a moment during my daily, frantic, last-minute toothbrushing, I looked into the mirror, dripping white foam everywhere, and thought, "what's happened to you?" My once-treasured MAC makeup collection lying lonely and unused next to the sink...miniskirts shoved in the back of the dresser drawer, heels gathering dust in the closet...
Jeezus. I'm a preschool teacher.
When you're chasing after a wild bunch of 5 year olds all the time, managing all of the blood, tears and snot that makes up your day, you are presented with the (somewhat sad) realization that there is now little need for stillettos, purple eyeshadow and making sure your ass looks good.
I guess somewhere along the line practicality caught up with me (practical...what an awful thing to be!)
So when lovely Kazumi, friend and indispensable Shizuoka guide, rang to say she had arranged a kimono fitting that Saturday, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was about time I did something for no other reason than to feel like a princess for a couple of hours; or in my case, anything but
a preschool teacher.
The entire day was brought to us courtesy of Mari, proprietress of Shizuoka's
leading kimono boutique, Colo コロ
. Don't be fooled by her petite frame; Mari stood the test of endurance as she devoted her entire morning...and afternoon to the painstaking details of dressing four women (three of them foreigners, I might add) with care and grace in authentic, antique kimonos (circa 1920).
Like so much of Japanese culture, the vein of ritual also runs deep through the kimono experience. With every layer, each detail serves a function with such precision and ornate beauty that you wonder how any other garment doesn't fall to pieces.
Above all, the special thing about dressing in a kimono - unless you are an expert like Mari - is that it can't be done solo, so that it is a kind of bonding experience, and an affirmation of femininity. I suppose this has been replaced, for better or worse, by the freedom of modern DIY fashion.
For me, it conjured images of being laced into a corset inside a turn-of-the-century powder room; ok, not a high point for womankind to say the least, but the past inevitably brings with it certain romantic notions of more sophisticated and less complicated days gone by.
I totally understand the reality of my misconceptions - but a girl can dream, can't she? After all, when you're dressed head-to-toe in a pink gown, sleeves long enough to graze the floor, with your waist tightly cinched with a giant silk bow, you can hardy be expected to do anything else.
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